Female dentists and dental care professionals (DCPs) should be well supported through the menopause and perimenopause to ensure we retain passionate and skilled clinicians in the workforce for as long as possible, according to Dental Protection.

Dental Protection said around 93% of DCPs and 52% of dentists are female, and many could at some stage be impacted by menopause symptoms such as anxiety, depression, poor concentration, brain fog, dizziness and insomnia while doing their best to care for patients in challenging environments.

It said mental wellbeing support, awareness from practice owners and managers as well as workplace adjustments may help female dental professionals continue to perform at their best, and stay in the workforce for longer.

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Yvonne Shaw, Deputy Director at Dental Protection, said: ‘The menopause and the associated symptoms can vary widely; however, we need to ensure female colleagues aren't suffering in silence during this phase of their lives. Brain fog, forgetfulness, poor concentration and insomnia can make any job difficult, but particularly so in a challenging environment like dentistry.

‘All female dental colleagues suffering with symptoms should feel comfortable to discuss workplace adjustments and seek mental wellbeing support. Providing a working environment that is open and supportive helps to ensure those affected do not feel isolated. Having a menopause workplace policy can ensure wider understanding and provide reassurance that support will be available if needed. Managers and practice owners should consider training on the menopause and how the symptoms can impact on the wellbeing of some individuals and the wider team.

‘If we do not destigmatise menopause, we may lose many skilled and highly valued dental professionals during a time when the profession can ill-afford it. A supportive culture will alleviate additional stress, enable individuals to continue to perform at their best for patients, and thrive in their careers for longer.'